The variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects in Užpaliai area

Mindaugas Ilčiukas

The long-term investigations of fauna have been performed in the area of Užpaliai on birds from 1999, butterflies and moths from 2002, and dragonflies from 2005. Due to great variety in biotope distribution, quite a number of rare animal species have been detected in the area Užpaliai. Even 48 protected species from the Lithuanian Red Data Book have been found. Many water bird species are also met in this area. A pond of the Užpaliai Hydroelectric Plant is very important for them, and large flocks from 100 to 200 birds of different duck species are observed there during migration. The Lithuanian Red Data bird species often met in the pond of the Užpaliai Pant are as follows: osprey (Pandion haliaetus), white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), greylag goose (Anser anser), northern pintail (Anas acuta), northern shoveler (Anas clypeata), common merganser (Mergus merganser), European kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), black tern (Chlidonias niger), wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola) and common crane (Grus grus). So, this pond is very important to both migrating and rare birds.

Surrounded by natural meadows and pinewoods, an oxbow lake of the Šventoji River in the area of Lygamiškis village also is important for various species. Many species of the Lithuanian Red Data Book are observed there: geranium argus (Aricia eumedon), large copper (Lycaena dispar), false heath fritillary (Melitaea diamina), Nickerl’s fritillary (Melitaea aurelia), swallowtail butterfly (Papilio machaon), green club-tailed dragonfly (Ophiogomphus cecilia), yellow-legged dragonfly (Gomphus flavipes), lesser emperor dragonfly (Anax parthenope), natterjack toad (Bufo calamita), European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina) and corn crake (Crex crex). The species of even 158 birds (Aves), 385 butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), 85 beetles (Coleoptera), 34 dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata), 11 amphibians (Amphibia), 3 reptiles (Reptilia) and 24 mammals (Mammalia) have been found in the environs of Užpaliai. The rare species detected enable to confirm that the environs of Užpaliai are greatly valuable for their biological variety.